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Natasha Lyonne Bio
Natasha Bianca Lyonne Braunstein (born April 4, 1979), better known as Natasha Lyonne, is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Jessica in the American Pie series and her appearances in the films Everyone Says I Love You, Slums of Beverly Hills, But I’m a Cheerleader, and Blade: Trinity. She currently portrays Nicky Nichols in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, for which she received a nomination for the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
As a young child, Lyonne was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency.
At the age of six, she was cast as Opal on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, followed by film appearances in Heartburn, A Man Called Sarge, and Dennis the Menace. On working as a very young child actor, Lyonne said: “I didn’t have the best parents. I don’t think they are bad people. Even if they were ready to have children, it is kind of a wacky idea to put your child in business at six years old.”
When she was 16, Woody Allen cast her in Everyone Says I Love You, which led to appearances in almost 30 films over the next 10 years, including starring roles in the independent films Slums of Beverly Hills and But I’m a Cheerleader. Lyonne’s other films include Detroit Rock City, Scary Movie 2, The Grey Zone, Kate and Leopold, Party Monster, and Blade: Trinity. She has also made television appearances on shows such as NBC’s Will and Grace. In what is perhaps her most well known role, she appeared as Jessica in the American Pie film series.
Lyonne made films The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle and Goyband. Since then, Lyonne has worked steadily in the New York theatre scene, as well as in film and television. Her newer film appearances include All About Evil, 4:44 – Last Day on Earth, Girl Most Likely, The Rambler, and Clutter.
Lyonne made her New York stage debut in the award-winning New Group production of Mike Leigh‘s Two Thousand Years.
Lyonne was in the original cast of the award-winning Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a play written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. She received rave reviews for her performance in Kim Rosenstock’s comedy,Tigers Be Still at the Roundabout Theatre Company: “a thorough delight in the flat-out funniest role, the grief-crazed Grace, so deeply immersed in self-pity that she has cast aside any attempts at decorum.”
In 2011, Lyonne was in Tommy Nohilly’s Blood From a Stone, from the New Group.
Lyonne participated in New Group’s benefit performance of Women Behind Bars.
On working in the theater: “There’s something about theater that squashes the self-critical voices because you have to be in the moment. I’m glad that I didn’t do this before I was ready, before I was capable of showing up every day. That is not a skill set I had before.”
In late 2012, Lyonne was reported to be developing a TV series for Fox Television about a young girl, who, fresh out of rehab and committed to starting a new life as a sober, responsible adult, is forced to move in with her conservative brother and young family.
She is currently starring as Nicky Nichols in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, for which she has received positive reviews. The role is Lyonne’s first television show as a series regular. She received her first Primetime Emmy nomination for the role in 2014.